Feb. 15, 2012
GETTING TO THE GAME
Tickets to games at ASU's Packard Stadium start at $8 for adults and $6 for youth (ages 16 and under) and seniors. ASU students earn free admission with their SunCard. The Sun Devils' home stadium is located on the Northeast side of campus, along Packard Dr., just east of Sun Devil Stadium and south of Loop 202.
The Arizona State Sun Devils open the 54th season of Sun Devil baseball by hosting the Western Michigan Broncos in a three-game series at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. The Devils and Broncos will open the 2012 season on Friday night, followed by a day game on Saturday before wrapping up the opening weekend with the series finale on Sunday.
Devils vs. Western Michigan and the MAC:
This is the first time in school history ASU has faced Western Michigan from the Mid-American Conference (MAC). The Devils are a combined 18-2 all-time against opponents from the MAC, including 6-2 vs. Eastern Michigan, 1-0 vs. Kent State, 2-0 vs. Miami (Ohio), 8-0 vs. Northern Illinois and 1-0 vs. Temple.
The Sun Devils welcome back 17 returners, headlined by preseason All-American and defending Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year Deven Marrero. Also returning is the Pac-10's defending batting champion Joey DeMichele, last season's Friday night starter and nine-game winner Brady Rodgers, the team's leader in ERA and appearances Trevor Williams, 2011 All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention recipient Alex Blackford, and returning starter Andrew Aplin. Other position players coming back include Trever Allen, Michael Benjamin, Kasey Coffman, Tucker Esmay, Beau Maggi, James McDonald and Abe Ruiz. Other pitchers returning include Jake Barrett, Mark Lambson, Joseph Lopez and Josh McAlister.
New Faces On The Bases:
Junior Joey DeMichele will begin the 2012 season at second base after spending most of last season as the team's designated hitter. Senior Abe Ruiz, who made three starts last season, is likely to see the majority of time at first base, while sophomore Michael Benjamin is set to take over third base from departed Riccio Torrez.
Packing Them In:
For the seventh consecutive year and the eighth time in the last nine years, Arizona State led the West Coast (excluding Hawai'i) in attendance. 104, 317 fans came to Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark during the 2011 season, the 18th highest total in the entire nation. No other Pac-12 team ranked in the Top 25 in national attendance.
The Sun Devils will open their 54th season of varsity baseball against Western Michigan. Arizona State is 41-11-1 all-time in season openers. The Devils won last year on Opening Night, beating New Mexico 8-2 at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. Retuning starter Brady Rodgers allowed just two singles and struck out five through five innings, and departed Riccio Torrez turned in a multi-homer game to help the Devils win its fifth straight season opener. ASU has not opened a season on the road since 2003, when they began the year at Hawai'i-Hilo.
The Sun Devils finished the 2011 season with a 43-18 record, a 17-10 Pac-10 Conference record and earned an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the Super Regionals before falling to the University of Texas in three games. ASU swept the Tempe Regional, the fifth straight year on the field that Packard Stadium has played host to a Regional, beating New Mexico, Charlotte and Arkansas. Last season marked the 49th straight year that Arizona State has topped the 30-win mark on the field and the 32nd time with more than 40 victories. Head coach Tim Esmay recorded the second highest winning percentage (.810) among ASU head coaches over their first 100 games. Joey DeMichele won the Pac-10 batting crown with his .368 average, the second straight year and fourth time in the last five years a Sun Devil has won the title, and also led the conference in slugging percentage at .663. Zack MacPhee won the Pac-10 stolen base title with 27 swipes, the third straight year a Sun Devil led the Pac-10 in steals. Deven Marrero was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the second Sun Devil to ever win the award (Eric Sogard, 2007) and marking the sixth straight year Arizona State had at least one Pac-10 individual award winner. The Sun Devils also led the Pac-10 in extra base hits (201), doubles (136), triples (28) and home runs (37).
Arizona State welcomes 17 newcomers to Tempe as they begin their Sun Devil careers. Those 17 include 10 true freshmen and seven JC transfers. The junior college transfers are OF/INF Kyle Bilbrey (Salt Lake CC), RHP Josh Dahl (Central Arizona College), LHP Matt Dunbar (College of Southern Nevada), LHP Adrian Gomez (Univ. of Washington), RHP Zak Miller (Yavapi College), RHP Robert Ravago (Pima CC), C Max Rossiter (Central Arizona College) and RHP Billy Young (Mesa CC). The freshmen class features LHP Brandon Bonilla (Greenwich, Conn.), INF Rouric Bridgewater (Pomona, Calif.), C Nathaniel Causey (Gilbert, Ariz.), INF L Grant Davis (Newport Beach, Calif.), C Dylan Delso (Broken Arrow, Okla.), RHP Darin Gillies (Hollister, Calif.), OF Jake Peevyhouse (Phoenix), LHP Adam McCreery (La Verne, Calif.), INF Drew Stankiewicz (Gilbert, Ariz.) and INF/OF Jake Wakamatsu (North Richland Hills, Texas).
The 2012 Sun Devil team features four student-athletes with unique connections to Arizona State. Sophomore Trever Allen is the son of Jamie Allen, who played three seasons at ASU, including the 1977 National Championship year. Jamie was a lifetime .333 hitter at ASU and he also went 6-2 on the mound. He was a two-time All-WAC team member and was a member of the 1977 All-College World Series team. Freshman INF/OF Jake Wakamatsu also has Maroon and Gold in his blood, as his father Don was a four-year letterwinner for Arizona State from 1982 to 1985. A three-year starter at catcher, Don was a three-time First Team All-Pac-10 selection and was a member of two Pac-10 Championships teams and twice played in the College World Series. Don played for the Chicago White Sox in 1991 and became the first former Sun Devil baseball player to be named a Major League Baseball manager when he was hired by the Seattle Mariners prior to the 2009 season. He is currently the bench coach of the Toronto Blue Jays. Joining Wakamatsu and Allen as Legacy Devils are redshirt freshman Tucker Esmay and sophomore Michael Benjamin. Esmay is the son of head coach Tim Esmay and Benjamin is the son of assistant coach Mike Benjamin. The elder Esmay and Benjamin were teammates on the 1986 and 1987 Sun Devils.
Freshman LHP Brandon Bonilla's father Bobby played 16 seasons in the Major Leagues (1986-2001) for eight different teams, including the Chicago White Sox, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers, Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals. He was a six-time All-Star and won the 1997 World Series as a member of the Florida Marlins. Brandon is also the godson of former Sun Devil legend and MLB Home Run King Barry Bonds, who was teammates with his father on the Pittsburgh Pirates...Fellow freshman INF Drew Stankiewicz's father Andy also played in the Major Leagues, spending seven seasons with the New York Yankees, Houston Astros, Montreal Expos and Arizona Diamondbacks. Andy was an assistant coach at Arizona State from 2007-09, collecting two Pac-10 titles and a trip to the 2009 College World Series, and is currently the head baseball coach at Grand Canyon University...Redshirt sophomore catcher Beau Maggi is the brother of Drew Maggi, who starred at ASU in 2009 and 2010...Sophomore RHP Mark Lambson is the brother of Mitchell Lambson, who made 102 appearances for ASU from 2009-11, tied for the second most in school history...Sophomore shortstop Deven Marrero is the cousin of Chris Marrero, a first baseman for the Washington Nationals.
Fifteen members of the 2012 Arizona State baseball team participated in summer collegiate baseball this past summer: Joey DeMichele, Hyannis HarborHawks, Cape Cod Baseball League; Andrew Aplin, Orleans Firebirds, Cape Cod Baseball League; Jake Barrett, Brewster Whitecaps, Cape Cod Baseball League; Mark Lambson, Cowlitz Black Bears, West Coast Collegiate League; Michael Benjamin, Bend Elks, West Coast Collegiate League; Josh McAlister, Bend Elks, West Coast Collegiate League; Alex Blackford, Mankato Moondogs, Northwoods League; James McDonald, Mankato Moondogs, Northwoods League; Tucker Esmay, Orange County Pioneers, California Collegiate League; Beau Maggi, East Texas Pump Jacks, Texas Collegiate League; Trever Allen, East Texas Pump Jacks, Texas Collegiate League; Kasey Coffman, Okotoks Dawgs, Western Major League; Abe Ruiz, West Virginia Miners, Prospect League; Deven Marrero, Team USA National Collegiate Team; and Brady Rodgers, Team USA National Collegiate Team.
2012 Pre-Season Honors:
Deven Marrero was the sole unanimous First Team selection in Baseball America's Preseason All-American poll and was one of just six repeat recipients (Second Team in 2011). He was also named a Preseason First Team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, CollegeBaseballInsider.com, Perfect Game and College Baseball Daily, and earned a spot on College Sports Madness' Second Team. He was joined on both NCBWA's Third Team and College Sports Madness' All-Conference First Team by Brady Rodgers and Joey DeMichele, who were both also named honorable mentions by CollegeBaseballInsider.com. Rodgers was selected to the Second Team by Collegiate Baseball and was a Third Team choice by both Baseball America and Perfect Game, while DeMichele was named to Perfect Game's Second Team and College Sports Madness' Fourth Team. Jake Barrett was a Second Team pick by Baseball America. Head coach Tim Esmay was selected as the Pac-12 Coach of the Year by College Sports Madness.
2011 Pac-10 Awards:
Arizona State, after finishing second in the Pac-10, took home a litany of conference accolades, headlined by Defensive Player of the Year recipient Deven Marrero. ASU had five First Team All-Pac-10 performers: Austin Barnes, Joey DeMichele, Marrero, Johnny Ruettiger and Riccio Torrez. Alex Blackford, Kramer Champlin, Mitchell Lambson, Zack MacPhee, Matt Newman, Brady Rodgers, Trevor Williams and Zach Wilson all earned Honorable Mentions. DeMichele joined Andy Workman on the Academic All-Pac-10 first team. Marrero and Torrez earned a spot on the Second Team, and Xorge Carrillo and Newman were Honorable Mentions.
Joey DeMichele earned First Team honors from the ABCA and took home Third Team honors from Baseball America. Trevor Williams earned Freshman All-American honors from Baseball America and Andy Workman was named a Second-Team Academic All-American.
In addition to facing the schools in the Pac-12, which now includes Utah, the Devils will also take on teams from nine different conferences in 2011. ASU will face three teams from the Big West (Long Beach State, Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside), two from the Mid-American (Northern Illinois, Western Michigan), two from the West Coast (Gonzaga, Saint Mary's) and one each from the Atlantic 10 (Saint Louis), Big 12 (Texas Tech), Big South (Winthrop), Great West (Utah Valley), Mountain West (New Mexico) and Western Athletic (UNLV).
Feeling The Draft:
There are 13 members of the 2012 Sun Devils who have had their name called during the annual Major League Baseball draft, including five freshmen. Everyone except for Max Rossiter, who was drafted following two successful seasons at Central Arizona College, was selected after high school but opted to attend ASU. Player Round Team Year Jake Barrett 3rd Blue Jays 2009 James McDonald 11th White Sox 2010 Adam McCreery 14th Twins 2011 Deven Marrero 17th Reds 2009 Andrew Aplin 33rd Yankees 2009 Brandon Bonilla 37th Rockies 2011 Brady Rodgers 39th Brewers 2009 Drew Stankiewicz40th Rockies 2011 Michael Benjamin45th Rockies 2010 Nathaniel Causey46th Rockies 2011 Max Rossiter 46th Rays 2011 Abe Ruiz 47th Giants 2008 Jake Wakamatsu 48th Blue Jays 2011
Arizona State was picked to finish third in the 2012 Preseason Pac-10 Coaches' Poll and received one first-place vote. Stanford was picked to finish first, receiving 10 first-place votes, with Arizona in second.
The Sun Devils will play 19 games this season against teams ranked in the Preseason Top 30, including 10 at Packard Stadium and nine on the road. ASU will host a three-game series against both No. 26 Cal (March 23-25) and No. 22 Oregon State (April 5-7), and will welcome No. 18 Arizona for two separate single-game sets on April 17 and May 16, respectively. No. 19 Cal State Fullerton will also come to Tempe for a two-game tilt March 27-28. The Devils travel to Los Angeles March 16-18 to face No. 20 UCLA and will play No. 2 Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif., April 20-22. They finish the season with a three-game series against the Wildcats in Tucson, Ariz., May 25-27.
Arizona State will host UC Riverside in a three-game series that begins Friday at Winkles Field-Packard Stadium at Brock Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (MT) on Friday in Tempe.